A few weeks ago, on June 4th, we had a little party at the Chancery.
Eleven new graduates received their 3-Year Catechetical and Catholic School Teacher certifications!
With this year’s graduates, over 170 intrepid individuals have completed the 3-year certification program.
Of course, this was my first graduation, and it was cool for me to see. People were really excited about it and proud of their accomplishment…and it really is one! The certification comprises over 20 four and six week courses…at least 200 hours of instruction over three years. That’s a lot of nights, and in some cases, weekends, studying the Catholic Faith!
Since beginning in 2006, more than 3000 adults, from over 80 different parishes have taken at least one Bishop Helmsing Institute course. Over 600 students have taken one full year of studies. Pretty impressive.
For the last 12 years, I was a director of religious education at a good-sized parish in the Peoria, IL diocese. Peoria has nothing like BHI. They tried to get something started around 15 years ago but it failed.
For a long time, Peoria had yearly summer institutes for faith formation, but that was one day, once a year. And, if you lived in Champaign, like I did, you had to drive 90 minutes to get there. Outside of that one conference, there was nothing unless the parish organized it.
I think a lot of people take for granted the fact they can get high quality faith formation courses at relatively convenient locations around the city. That’s actually kind of rare. There aren’t that many dioceses in the U.S. that have something like the Bishop Helmsing Institute.
A testimony to the benefits of faith formation
I was blown away by the graduate’s testimonies too. One lady told an incredibly moving story about the faith she developed from taking BHI courses and how that sustained her through through a problem pregnancy and delivery. The courses taught her to be pro-life and to have an unswerving trust in God’s providence…even in tragic situations.
Another gentleman, who worked for in a parish, was already well educated in the Faith, but found the BHI courses deepened his knowledge and understanding in profound ways.
Adult faith formation is essential for everyone
Of course, I’m slightly biased, but I think continuing faith formation should be a must for every adult Catholic. Most of us stop engaging the questions of faith and life as teenagers. I know, it was boring and didn’t seem to apply to anything you wanted, and it was restricting all your fun. I get it…been there, done that. But I’m here to tell you, if that was you, you’ve been missing the best part!
The Catholic Faith has so much more to offer when we delve into it as adults. With life experience, and some regrets, Catholicism resonates and speaks to you in ways it never did as a kid. There’s so much practical wisdom for life contained there–a road map for fulfilled life.
Give BHI a try!
If it’s been a while since you’ve wrestled with the implications of God and the world, or if you know someone who is disillusioned and tired of life, invite them to take a look at the Bishop Helmsing Institute courses. We’re starting some new initiatives this fall that address common life problems and connect them to faith.
Congratulations to our 2015 graduates:
3-year Catechetical Certification
Elsa M. Chavira
Miguel Ángel García
Rosa Ilda Mejía
Catholic School Teacher Certification
Dr. Dan Peters